SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian doping authorities began issuing formal allegations of possible anti-doping violations to 17 current and former Cronulla Sharks rugby league players on Wednesday.
The allegations are the result of Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA)'s protracted investigation into the possible use of supplements including banned peptides in sport.
"ASADA today commenced issuing 'show cause' notices to current and former players from the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks Football Club," a statement issued by ASADA read.
"A total of 17 'show cause' notices are to be issued (and) relate to the use of prohibited substances, CJC-1295 and GHRP-6, during the 2011 season."
The substances CJC-1295 and GHRP-6 are peptide hormones which promote growth and are banned under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code.
The players must respond to the show cause notice within 10 days to explain or justify their actions.
The Sharks said five of the players were still at the club and had been offered the chance to accept a possible ban as punishment for their alleged infractions.
"The Sharks have been advised that five players currently contracted to the club have received 'show cause' notices from ASADA," the Sharks said in a statement.
"Players have been offered a proposal regarding a possible suspension, which they need to consider before the weekend, with the players to consult with their legal representatives over the next two days in relation to their individual circumstances."
The ASADA probe was triggered by a dramatic news conference by the country's then sports minister in February 2013 on the back of a report that alleged, among other things, the widespread use of banned substances in Australian sport.
ASADA issued 34 current and former players at Australian rules club Essendon with show cause notices in June and later extended the usual 10-day response period.
Those cases, however, have been put on hold pending a legal hearing into the probe in the Federal Court, which was precipitated by an injunction served by the Australian Football League (AFL) club and concluded last week with a decision pending.
(Reporting by Nick Mulvenney; Editing by John O'Brien)
Did you find this article insightful?